|Authors: ||L. Rallo, D. Barranco, R. De la Rosa, L. León|
|Keywords: ||crosses, evaluation steps, Olea europaea, seedlings, selections|
An olive breeding program was initiated in 1991 in Córdoba (Spain) by the University of Cordoba (UCO) and the Andalusian Institute of Agricultural Research (IFAPA). The main objectives of the program are: earliness of bearing, high oil yield, oil quality, suitability to different plantation systems and disease resistance.
Methodological improvements allowed the development of protocols of forcing growth to shorten the juvenile period and the establishment of early and simplified criteria of selection.
More than 10,000 seedlings from 83 crosses have been produced so far.
In the breeding scheme, different possibilities of resource allocation have been tested regarding the number of selection steps, number of replications and number of characters under evaluation.
Currently, three main steps are included in the breeding process: 1) progeny step - evaluation of single seedlings for early bearing, i.e., short juvenile period, fruit size, oil content and plant architecture for adaptation to different plantation systems; 2) intermediate step - selected genotypes are evaluated in a second step including a limited number of replications per genotype; 3) pre-commercial step - the most outstanding genotypes are tested in final multi-environment comparative trials for a comprehensive agronomic and oil quality evaluation under different environmental conditions.
Up to now, one new cultivar, 'Sikitita' ('Chiquitita' in USA), has been released, in 2009, and is currently planted in commercial orchards in at least than nine countries.
New advanced selections that are high yielding under different growing systems are currently under registration.
The most outstanding results are summarized.
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